The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 4 Days is the crown jewel of Peru and South America. Only the Inca Trail footpath gives you the chance to enjoy the natural subtropical beauty of the surrounding Villacabamba Mountain Range and Veronica Mountains, as well as explore the well-preserved original Inca complexes left by our ancient Peruvians. The Classic Inca Trail is the only hike that empowers you to enter Machu Picchu through the imposing Sun Gate entry, a truly unique and beautiful experience that is difficult to put into words. You can then finally experience this spectacular wonder of the world under the guidance of one of our expert local guides from the region.
The Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu is typically completed on a 4-day itinerary but can also be lengthened by a day or shortened to a 2-day trek on the so-called Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. 2 Days There is also an option to combine the Salkantay trek with the classic trail route for an epic and challenging 7-day adventure through crowning scenery and stunning snow-capped mountains and valleys.
Classic Inca Trail
- Day 1: Cusco, km 82, Huayllabamba (walking distance 12 km)
- Day 3: Huayllabamba, Dead Human Pass, Pacaymayo (walking distance: 11km )
- Day 3: Pacaymayo-Runkuracay Pass-Winayhuayna (walking distance: 16 km)
- Day 4: Winayhuayna, Sun Gate, Machu Picchu, Cusco (walking distance: 6 km)
- Trek every day fully supported; you will carry only your day packs.
- The most popular trek to Machu Picchu
- This adventure leads you directly to Machu Picchu.
- Only this trail goes through the Sun Gate.
- Follow the original Inca path, which is 65% stone-paved.
- The most beautiful scenery and breathtaking views
- Native Peruvian Flora and Fauna
- Stunning archaeological sites or Inca construction
- Indigenous Andean porters carry the camping stuff.
- Delicious Peruvian cuisine and 100% organic meals.
- An extra porter’s weight of 6 kg (13 pounds) is included in the price.
- Extraordinary native tour leaders.
- Direct and official tour operator based in Cusco, managed by locals.
- We give back to our communities in the Andes.
The first day is relatively easy and serves as training for the following four days of the classic hiking tour. Travellers are picked up from their hotels at 5:30 a.m. and travel by bus past the picturesque villages of Chinchero, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo. Buses usually stop at the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for about 30 minutes to give people the opportunity to have breakfast.
At km 82, we will cross the Urubamba River and follow the trek to the right as it climbs steeply upward. We will pass through a small village as the ruins of the Inca hill fort of Huillca Raccay come into view high above the mouth of the river Cusichaca (the happy bridge’).
You will be able to view the extensive Inca ruins of Llactapata (also known as Patallacta on some maps). Llactapata means ‘upper town’ in Quechua and was first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. It was primarily an agricultural station used to supply Machu Picchu with maize, the staple crop of the Incas.
We will continue the Inca Trail’s 4-day trek on a path that follows the left bank of the river up to the small village of Wayllabamba (3,000m). We will spend the night here, depending on the speed of the group. (This is the last place along the trek where you can buy snacks and drinks.)
Overnight at the campsite
- Walking Distance: 12km (7.45 miles)
- Starting Elevation: 2720 meters (8923 feet)
- Campsite Elevation: 3000 meters (9842 feet)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Weather: warm and windy
- Meals: Lunch and Dinner (plus a snack and afternoon tea)
- Accommodation: Camping in Wayllabamba
After breakfast, we will keep hiking the Classic Inca Trail as we climb up from Wayllabamba, following the left bank of the Llulluchayoc River, until we arrive at ‘Tres Piedras’ (three stones). There is a stream named after the Huayruro, which is an ornamental tree that has red and black seeds. Many of the porters from Ollantaytambo district are also known as Huayruros because of their traditional red and black ponchos.
As we trek further up the trail, we will begin to see spectacular terrain known as Llulluchapampa. We will walk another 2 hours uphill to the first and highest pass of the trail (Abra de Warmiwausca, or ‘Dead Woman’s Pass) at 4,215m. During this part of the Inca Trail tour, hikers are exposed to the Andean elements: first the scorching sun and then, closer to the pass, freezing winds. Once at the top, hikers can celebrate having completed the most difficult section of the hike.
The downhill from the pass is steep but not difficult. We will follow the trail on the left side of the valley floor and spend our second evening at the Pacaymayo campsite.
Overnight at the campsite
- Walking Distance: 12 km/6.82 miles
- Starting Elevation: 3000 meters (9842 feet)
- Campsite Elevation: 3580 metres (11700 feet)
- Maximum Altitude: 4200 meters (13779 feet) (Warmy Wauska Pass)
- Difficulty: Challenging
- Weather: Depending on the season
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (plus a snack and afternoon tea).
- Accommodation: Camping in Pacaymayu
The third day of the Inca trek to Machu Picchu leaves from Pacaymayo and takes about an hour of uphill hiking to the ruins of Runkurakay. These small circular ruins occupy a commanding position overlooking the Pacaymayo valley below.
Another 45-minute hike will bring you to the top of the second pass, Abra de Runkurakay (4,000m). At last, you’ll feel that you are walking along the pilgrimage trail of the Incas. An hour from the second pass, you’ll arrive at the Sayacmarca Inca site by way of a superbly designed stone staircase. The name Sayacmarca means inaccessible town and describes the position of the ruins, perfectly protected on three sides by sheer cliffs.
After visiting Sayacmarca, we will rejoin the trail as it passes Conchamarca, a small Inca dwelling situated in the shadows of Sayacmarca. From here, the path descends into a magnificent cloud forest full of orchids.
The trail goes up to the third pass (3,670m). This pass offers excellent views of several snow-capped peaks, including Salcantay (6,300m) and Veronica (5,900m). Phuyupatamarca, the most impressive Inca ruin, is located a few minutes away from the pass. The name Phuyupatamarca means town in the clouds.
After walking through the cloud forest, you may just be able to see the tin roof of the park rangers house (Wiay Wayna), although it will be 3 hours until we arrive at Wiay Wayna, which is the last official campsite before Machu Picchu. There is a short Inca Trail located at the southern end of the campsite that leads to the ruins of Wiay Wayna.
Overnight at the campsite
- Walking Distance: 16km (9.94 miles)
- Starting Elevation: 3580 metres (11745 feet)
- Maximum Altitude: 4000 meters (13123 feet) (Runkuracay Pass)
- Campsite Elevation: 2680 meters (8792 feet)
- Difficulty: Formidable
- Weather: Warm and very humid
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Accommodation: Camping in Wiayhuayna
The 4-day Inca Trail Machu Picchu is clearly marked, and it takes about 2 hours to finish this last section of the trail. We will awaken early at 4 a.m., have breakfast, and set off on the trail by 5.30 a.m. to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. The Classic Inca Trail contours a mountainside and drops into cloud forest before coming to an almost vertical flight of 50 steps leading up to the final pass at Intipunku (Sun Gate). Suddenly, the whole of Machu Picchu is spread out before you in all its glory—a fantastic sight for all.
When you arrive at the ruins, you’ll have plenty of time to take photos of Machu Picchu from the classic view point’. When the group is back together again, we descend to the main entrance, where you can safely leave your large backpacks. The group will re-enter the ruins with the same guide for a complete tour of the major sectors. The tour takes approximately 2 hours. Afterwards, you will have free time to explore the ruins alone (not included in the price).
In the afternoon, take the bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch, and then take the train back to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival at the train station, reception, and transfer to your hotel in Cusco, the journey by train takes approximately 3 hours.
- Walking Distance: 6 km/3.10 miles
- Starting Elevation: 2680 meters (8792 feet)
- Maximum Altitude: 2730 meters (8956 feet) (Sun Gate)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Weather: hot and very humid (bring lots of water).
- Meals: Breakfast
- All the transfers required (trailhead, Tran Station, hotel)
- Pre-departure briefing
- Pick up from your hotel in Cusco in the morning of trek departure
- Private transportation: Cusco, km. 82
- Porters to carry our camping and kitchen equipment
- English-speaking professional guide
- 4 season tents, 2 to 3 people capacity
- Therma-Rest self-inflating mattress
- 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 suppers
- Chef and cooking equipment
- First aid kit, including an emergency oxygen bottle
- Return Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Transfer from the train station to your Cusco hotel
- Bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Entrance ticket for the Inca Trail Trek and Machu Picchu
- Trek permits for the Inca Trail (4 days, 3 nights)
- Sleeping bag: $20 to rent
- Inflatable air mattress: $15 to rent
- Trekking poles (pair): $15 to rent
- Tips for our staff.
- Travel insurance is highly recommended for all hikers.
- Lunch on the last day
- Huayna Picchu Mountain: Tickets need to be booked in advance and cost an additional $75 per person.
- Machu Picchu Mountain: Tickets need to be booked in advance and cost an additional $75 per person.
- Additional Night in Aguas Calientes: $60
- Vistadome Train Upgrade: $60